Cross-border terrorism is major issue: US
June 9: The
US does not think Kashmir issue is on the table
for resumption of a composite Indo-Pak dialogue
saying the 'real question' right now is how
Pakistan progressed in ending cross-border
terrorism and trial of Mumbai attack suspects.
Administration however acknowledged that Kashmir
is a "very important issue" between
India and Pakistan and hoped the two neighbouring
countries would make progress on resolving this
issue. It also said there is "no
change" in its Kashmir policy.
think Kashmir is really the question that's on
the table now," said the Assistant Secretary
of State for South and Central Asia Robert Blake
in an interview to BBC.
question right now is to first, I think, get some
progress on the trial of the Mumbai suspects,
those who are already in custody in Pakistan and
also from the Indian perspective to see progress
by Pakistan on stopping actions by
Lashkar-e-Toiba and other Punjab-based terrorist
groups against India," Blake said.
American perspective on Indo-US talks, Blake said
that the above mentioned issues are the real
"redlines" for re-establishing the
composite dialogue between India and Pakistan.
spokesman P J Crowley told reporters at his daily
news briefing that "We recognise that
(Kashmir) is a very, very important issue between
India and Pakistan."
He was responding
to a question on the visit of the Prime Minister
Dr Manmohan Singh to Jammu and Kashmir and his
offer of talks with the separatist if they
abandon violence and abide by the Indian
dialogue between India and Pakistan, continues to
expand, including at the leader level, that we
would hope that India and Pakistan can make
progress in understanding this issue and moving
forward, just as they did a few years ago,"
Appearing at a
State Department Blog Forum, Blake said there is
no change in America's policy on Kashmir.
no change right now," Blake said in response
to a question. I think at this point the top
priority for India and Pakistan is, first, to get
their own bilateral dialogue going in a more
systematic way," he said.
As I said, there
is very important meetings that will be taking
place in Islamabad over the next two months and
the Indians have in Prime Minister Dr Singh
somebody who I think is personally and deeply
committed to achieving peace with Pakistan, Blake
(Prime Minister) needs to see progress on these
two important issues that I spoke of; that is,
progress to stop some of the cross-border
infiltration that's taking place into India, but
also progress on the trial of the Mumbai
suspects," said the State Department
If we can see
that, I think that there will be a flourishing of
the dialogue that could take place but those are
very important things that need to take place, he
Blake noted that
from 2004 to 2007, the two countries did make
quite a lot of progress on Kashmir, where they
had this bilateral back channel that took place
in which they had a chance for the first time to
sit down very quietly and explore the outlines of
quite reach the end of it, but I think they made
a great deal of progress.
And that, again,
could be picked up, I think, relatively quickly
if they can sort out some of these other issues
that I talked about," he said. (PTI)